Star Wars Rebels: 4.07 & 4.08 Kindred & Crawler Commanders
With any TV series you expect there to be a “filler” episode, something that elongates a story and could easily be removed without causing any major effect to the main plot, or general development. Here are two episodes of polar opposites one of which is exactly that. Kindred is the direct opposite of a filler episode, instead injecting new and intriguing characters while progressing existing ones, furthering the plot and answering questions from past episodes. This sparks conversation and interest, which is just one of the many positives to take away from an episode that serves as a stepping stone towards a greater battle to come.
Starting directly after last week's episode with the team retrieving the hidden hyperdrive while continuing to evade the Empire. Frustrated with Governor Pryce’s efforts at capturing the rebels, Thrawn decides to send out his assassin Rukh (after some research, he exists in cannon as a loyal and deadly guard of grand admiral Thrawn); by far this was the most interesting and proactive part of the episode. Unfortunately his involvement is short, he did however make a huge impact providing further mystery and intrigue, I only wish the episode centred more around him rather than a sudden disappearance when the rebels are out of sight. Perhaps if it wasn’t so jam packed full of sub-plots and other characterisation the part would have been heavier; hopefully he makes another appearance in the future (still unsure as to why he’s not in the next episode though).
Briefly seen and mentioned last episode, the Loth-wolves play a much larger part here. It’s a testament to the writers how they’re able to further the mystery surrounding these beasts while still providing information as to their existence. The three wolves help our heroes escape the Empire by using some form of magic to transport them from one side of the planet to the other. It's then discovered that they’ve been around for centuries, with cave paintings suggesting that humans (perhaps Jedi) used to walk alongside them. We then find out what the term “Dume” meant, that the wolf spoke last episode, but given its current insignificance I’ll leave that spoiler out. Either way their short amount of screen time is still fantastic and has increased my curiosity and hope they too make another appearance.
Crawling Commanders unfortunately had to follow an episode that was game changing and highly entertaining, creating further mystery, introducing exciting characters and incorporating superb action. This time around it was more of a filler episode that, although serving its purpose, has a story that could’ve been chopped up, taking the important parts and putting them into a more significant episode.
The end of last episode saw Hera escaping with the enemy hyperdrive and details of the new Tie defender to Yavin 4. Discussing the plans, Mon Mothma and the other rebel leaders are reluctant to send help back to Lothal citing protocol 13 (Death Star hint). Back on Lothal the rebels are attempting to contact Hera but are unable to due to communication difficulties, though they do find a mining crawler run and operated by the mining guild. I wish I could provide more information but this segment was so confusing and didn’t seem to fit in at all. To summarise, they are independent from the Empire but still governed by them and they condone slavery, which adds another brushed over sub-plot.
The team sneak on the crawler to use its communications antenna. Aboard they meet Captain Seevor (voiced by Seth Green), a lizard type creature whose purpose is comedic relief. They discover slaves, Zeb gets into a fight with the slave master and another lizard type creature of similar build. Given the high level of action in the previous episode, this was incredibly dull, the fight itself felt uncoordinated and clumsy. A perfect opportunity to showcase a decent fight sequence with a much loved and underused character (Zeb) that didn’t involve the Force in any way was missed
In general this episode lacks the emotion and progression of the previous one because although there’s still some development, it’s very uninspiring. All the unnecessary side plots make it feel cluttered and unorganised taking away from the more interesting main story, leaving me wanting more and feeling more deprived than satisfied. The only short sequence that’s of any stature is Hera’s speech of empowerment, convincing the rebel leaders to arrange an attack on Lothal, afterwards speaking to her team telling them the good news.
The majority of positive moments over both episodes come from Kindred, with its superb action sequences, the developed history of Lothal. Also the kiss between Kanin and Hera that provides closure and a heartfelt family moment was a perfect addition. I look forward to whatever comes next as even the poorer episodes have showed promise and, regardless of how much I complain, are still somewhat entertaining a and is turning into an excellent season.